(CNN) -- Nigeria beat France 1-0 in a friendly in St. Etienne to give themselves a big boost ahead of important World Cup qualifiers and turn the heat on home coach Raymond Domenech.
Akpala celebrates his 32nd minute goal for the Super Eagles.
Joseph Akpala scored Nigeria's winner just after the half-hour mark, reacting smartly after a shot from teammate Ikechukwu Uche hit the crossbar.
French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda could not deal with the rebound and Akpala converted.
Domenech, who used to coach St. Etienne's arch-rivals Lyon, was given a frosty reception by the home crowd and both he and his team were booed and jeered after the goal.
Nigeria, who are third in their African World Cup qualifying group, host Kenya on Saturday before a crunch match in Tunisia on June 20.
The Super Eagles were missing several key players, while France fielded a strong side with Karim Benzema, Nicolas Anelka, Franck Ribery and Patrice Evra all starting.
Inter's Patrick Vieira also returned for his 107th cap but lacking playing time with the Serie A champions gave a below-par performance in midfield while Chelsea's Florent Malouda also failed to impress on his recall.
France, who are second in European Group 7 and by no means certain of automatic qualification, play Turkey in another friendly on Friday before facing the Faroe Islands in a qualifier.
Domenech has been under pressure since France's disappointing display in Euro 2008 and lackluster performances in qualification for the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.
He was nearly given a lifeline in Tuesday night's match as new cap Loic Remy hit the post in the dying moments, but Nigeria held on for victory.
Before the match there was a minute's silence for the 228 passengers and crew of the Air France flight that disappeared on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on Monday.